Anthony J. Pennings, PhD

WRITINGS ON DIGITAL ECONOMICS, ENERGY STRATEGIES, AND GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS

Subsidizing Silicon: NASA and the Computer

This post investigates the Cold War’s “Space Race” that established the microprocessor industry’s foundation by subsidizing the production and quality control of the computer “chip.”

The MAD Origins of the Computer Age

The policy of “Mutually Assured Destruction” (MAD) and specifically the advancements in the Minute Man II missile led to the development and refinement of silicon integrated circuits and ultimately the microprocessor “chip.”

JFK’s Contribution to Global Communications

On November 22, 1963, shortly after noon, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated as he rode in a motorcade through downtown Dallas. Although he was only president for three years, he had an extraordinary influence on the development of our modern technological age, especially the rise (literally) of global communications and the fulfillment of Clarke’s vision.

Apollo 13: The Write Stuff

The cybernetic process of guiding a spacecraft to the Moon is exemplified by some clever F/X and acting, but more than that it tells the story of a certain break with “reality” and a new trust in the techniques and instrumentalities of hyperreal simulation.

WSJ in the Ether about Inventing the Internet

Controversy emerged recently with Gordon Crovitz’s opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Who Really Invented the Internet?” Crovitz’s article is part of the backlash to President Obama’s somewhat poorly phrased speech but nonetheless accurate assertion, “The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all companies could make money off the Internet.”

Smith Effect III: Adam Smith, the Census Machine, and the Beginnings of IBM

This post further develops the thesis that Adam Smith’s new conception of the wealth set the foundation for modern information practices and calculating technologies.

Why AT&T Invented and Shared the Transistor that Started the Digital Revolution

The transistor emerged from the research efforts of AT&T, the corporate behemoth that was formed by JP Morgan and guided by US policy to become the nation’s primary telecommunications provider. Fed by AT&T’s monopoly profits, Bell Labs became a virtual “patent factory”, producing thousands of technical innovations and patents a year by the 1930s. One of its major challenges was to find a more efficient successor to the vacuum tube.

Seeing from Space: Cold War Origins to Google Earth

President Eisenhower had been secretly coordinating the space program as part of the Cold War since the early 1950s. He had become accustomed to the valuable photographic information obtained from spy planes and considered satellites a crucial new Cold War technology. The D-Day invasion of Europe, which he had managed as the head of the […]

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  • About Me

    Professor at State University of New York (SUNY) Korea since 2016. Moved to Austin, Texas in August 2012 to join the Digital Media Management program at St. Edwards University. Spent the previous decade on the faculty at New York University teaching and researching information systems, digital economics, and strategic communications.

    You can reach me at:

    apennings70@gmail.com
    anthony.pennings@sunykorea.ac.kr

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    The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of my employers, past or present.